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Lehre Warum 24/7 Teil 3

Teil 1 Rainer - Zeitstrahl vom Anfang der Schöpfung bis in die


Ewigkeit des Himmels.
In Hiob Kapitel 38:1-7 fragt Gott den Hiob: Wo warst du als ich
die Grundpfeiler des Universum gelegt habe, als die
Morgensterne den Lobpreis Gottes sangen und die
Gottessöhne vor Freude jubelten?
Unser Stern, unsere Sonne verbrennt durch Kernfusion in jeder
Sekunde 567 Mio. t Wasserstoff zu 562,8 Mio. t Helium. Dabei
wird eine unglaubliche Menge von Energie erzeugt, die das
Leben auf der Erde ermöglicht, es ist purer, ständig neuer
und ununterbrochener Lobpreis, der dir an einem warmen
Tag im März oder April die Kälte des Winters aus den Knochen
vertreibt.
Die Himmel verkünden die Herrlichkeit Gottes, und das
Himmelsgewölbe zeigt, dass es das Werk seiner Hände ist. Ein
Tag erzählt es dem anderen, und eine Nacht gibt es der
anderen weiter. Sie tun es ohne Worte, kein Laut und keine
Stimme ist zu hören. Psalmen‬ 19:2-4‬ NGU

Nach der Sintflut baute Noah einen Altar, Brandopfer steht für
das Gebet, welches zum Himmel aufsteigt, und Gott verheißt
Kontinuität ...solange die Erde steht, soll nicht aufhören
Saat und Ernte, Frost und Hitze, Sommer und Winter, Tag
und Nacht. (Das ist eine 24/7 Kontinuitätszusage Gottes)
1. Mose‬ 8:21-22‬ LUT‬
Das Leben an sich ist ein ununterbrochenes Gebet, Psalm
150: Alles was Atem (Odem) hat lobe den Herrn. Wenn
der Atem aussetzt ist der Fluss des Lebens unterbrochen, der
Tod tritt ein. Selbst im Winterschlaf:
...ihre normale Körpertemperatur sinkt dabei meist auf Werte
zwischen 9 und 1 °C ab. Ihr Herz schlägt statt hundertmal nur
noch zwei- bis dreimal pro Minute. Die Atempausen können bis
zu einer Stunde betragen...

Das Leben ist eine ununterbrochene Bewegung, ein
Prozess der Kontinuität:
Beständigkeit, Ausgewogenheit, Echtheit, Stabilität,
Bestimmtheit, Festigkeit, Fortbestehen, Fortgang,
Geradlinigkeit, Konstanz, Loyalität, Permanenz, Pflichtgefühl,
Standhaftigkeit, Stetigkeit, Treue, Unbeugsamkeit,
Unerschütterlichkeit, Unnachgiebigkeit, Unwandelbarkeit,
Zielbewusstsein, Zuverlässigkeit, Zähigkeit, Charakterfestigkeit.
Und auch unsere Kultur/Zivilisation würde nicht ohne 24/7
funktionieren, Kraftwerke und Hochöfen laufen ununterbrochen.
Hochofen läuft etwa 20 Jahre 'Ofenreise' in einer
kontinuierlichen Arbeitsweise, dazu braucht es einen 'Bunker'
mit genügend Rohstoffen und ein komplexes Kühlsystem. Bei
Versorgungsengpässen wird er gedämpft, wird er stillgelegt
wird er 'ausgeblasen'. (Das ist ein hochkompliziertes und teures
System welches, um es aufzubauen, über Jahre vorher geplant
werden muss und wo viel Geld investiert und Ressourcen
angehäuft werden müssen)
In Krankenhäuser und Pflegeheimen werden komplizierte
Schichtpläne entworfen um 24/7 zu gewährleisten. Selbst bei
einer Grippewelle unter den noch anwesenden MA in den
Sommerferien. Persönliche Erfahrungen Jakobi Altenzentrum.
Aber nicht nur im Bereich der Natur und der menschlichen
Kultur, selbst wenn dieses Zeitalter abgelaufen ist, dann gilt
immer noch:
----------------
Diese Menschen sind durch die größte Bedrängnis gegangen,
die es je gegeben hat. Ihre Gewänder sind deshalb so weiß,
weil sie sie im Blut des Lammes gewaschen haben. Darum
stehen sie jetzt vor Gottes Thron und dienen Gott Tag und
Nacht in seinem Tempel. Er, der auf dem Thron sitzt, ist für
sie wie ein Zelt, unter dem sie für immer geborgen sind.
Offenbarung‬ 7:14-15‬ NGÜ
Tag und Nacht rufen diese (vier) Wesen immer wieder
aufs Neue: »Heilig, heilig, heilig ist Gott, der Herr, der
allmächtige Herrscher, er, der war, der ist und der
kommt. 9 Und sooft sie dem Ehre erweisen, der auf dem Thron
sitzt und in alle Ewigkeit (also ununterbrochen) lebt, sooft sie
ihn rühmen und ihm ihren Dank bringen, werfen sich auch die
vierundzwanzig Ältesten vor ihm nieder und beten ihn an – ihn,
der auf dem Thron sitzt und in alle Ewigkeit lebt. Sie legen ihre
Kronen vor seinem Thron nieder und rufen: Würdig bist du,
Herr, unser Gott, Ruhm und Ehre zu empfangen und für
deine Macht gepriesen zu werden! Denn du bist der
Schöpfer aller Dinge; nach deinem Willen wurde alles ins
Dasein gerufen und erschaffen. (s.o. 24/7 in der Natur)
NGÜ Offenbarung 4,8-11
24/7 Gebet ist ein gegebener realer Prozess auf allen
Ebenen. Als GBH klinken wir uns in den vorhandenen Fluss mit
ein, ein unnatürlicher Zustand (Wenn die Anlage und Lichter
ausgeschaltet werden) wird beendet. Wie schön wenn an einem
Ort z.B. in der Bertoldstr.5 in Freiburg eine Harmonisierung
mit natürlichen und himmlischen Zuständen vollzogen wird.
Bei aller angebrachten Vorsicht alttestamentliche Aussagen an
das alte Bundesvolk der Juden unreflektiert und gedankenlos in
den christlichen Kontext zu importieren, so können wir es doch
so machen wie die Autoren des NT das AT geistlich gedeutet
haben:
Das Feuer auf dem Brandopferaltar muss immer
brennen, es darf niemals verlöschen! Jeden Morgen soll
der Priester Holz nachlegen. Darauf soll er das Brandopfer
zurichten und die Fettstücke der Friedensopfer verbrennen.
3. Mose‬ 6:5‬ HFA‬‬
Kommt und preist den HERRN, all ihr Diener des HERRN, die
ihr nachts den Dienst im Tempel des HERRN verrichtet!
Hebt eure Hände im Gebet empor, streckt sie aus zu seinem
Heiligtum und preist den HERRN! Es segne dich der HERR vom
Berg Zion aus, er, der Himmel und Erde geschaffen hat!
Psalmen‬ 134:1-3‬ NGÜ
Beispiel persönlicher Erfahrung:
Das münsterländische Vinnenberg in der Nähe von
Warendorf gilt neben als ältester Wallfahrtsort des Bistums
Münster. Fast 800 Jahre wurde hier das kontemplative Gebet
gepflegt – im Juni 2005 verließen die letzten
Benediktinerinnen von der ewigen Anbetung nach über
100 Jahren altersbedingt ihr Kloster.
Der ununterbrochene Schmerz darüber dass die geistliche
Landschaft, das lebendige, natürliche Gebet wie eine
Trümmerwüste aussieht.
Wie geht es den Juden, die aus der Verbannung heimgekehrt
sind, und wie steht es um Jerusalem? Sie berichteten: »Die
Zurückgekehrten leiden bittere Not. Man beschimpft sie. Von
der Stadtmauer Jerusalems sind nur noch Trümmer übrig, die
Tore liegen in Schutt und Asche. Als ich das hörte, setzte
ich mich hin und weinte. Ich trauerte tagelang, fastete und
betete: Ach, HERR, du Gott des Himmels, du großer und
ehrfurchtgebietender Gott! Du hältst deinen Bund mit uns und
erweist allen deine Güte, die dich lieben und nach deinen
Geboten leben. Verschließe deine Augen und Ohren nicht, wenn
ich zu dir flehe! Tag und Nacht bete ich zu dir für das
Leben der Israeliten. Du bist unser Herr. Ich bekenne dir,
dass wir gegen dich gesündigt haben, auch ich und meine
Verwandten. Wir alle haben schwere Schuld auf uns geladen.
Wir hielten uns nicht an die Gebote und Weisungen, die dein
Diener Mose von dir bekommen hat. Aber denke doch daran,
was du zu Mose gesagt hast: ›Wenn ihr mich verlasst, werde
ich euch unter die fremden Völker zerstreuen; wenn ihr aber
wieder zu mir umkehrt und meine Gebote befolgt, dann lasse
ich euch in euer Land zurückkehren, auch wenn ich euch bis
ans Ende der Erde vertrieben habe. Ich bringe euch an den Ort,
den ich erwählt habe, um dort selbst zu wohnen.
Nehemia 1,2-9
Ein Lied von den Nachkommen Korachs. Der Esrachiter Heman
verfasste es zum Nachdenken. Auf eine traurige Weise zu
singen. HERR, mein Gott, du allein kannst mir noch helfen! Tag
und Nacht schreie ich zu dir! Lass mein Gebet zu dir
dringen, verschließ deine Ohren nicht vor meinem
Flehen! Schweres Leid drückt mich nieder, ich bin dem Tod
schon näher als dem Leben.
Psalm 88,1-2 (HFA)
In Jerusalem` lebte damals auch eine Prophetin namens
Hanna, eine Tochter Penuels aus dem Stamm Ascher. Sie war
schon sehr alt. Nach siebenjähriger Ehe war ihr Mann
gestorben; sie war Witwe geblieben und war nun
vierundachtzig Jahre alt. Sie verbrachte ihre ganze Zeit im
Tempel und diente Gott Tag und Nacht mit Fasten und
Beten. Auch sie trat jetzt zu Josef und Maria. Voller Dank pries
sie Gott, und zu allen, die auf die Erlösung Jerusalems
warteten, sprach sie über dieses Kind. Lukas 2,36-38
Wir sind gerufen in das kontinuierliche Lied der Liebe mit
einzustimmen.
Der Begriff Perpetuum mobile ist lateinisch und steht für „sich
ständig Bewegendes ―. Er bezeichnet eine Konstruktion, die
sich, sobald sie in Gang gesetzt wurde, immer weiter bewegt
und dabei durch freie Energie zusätzlich Arbeit verrichtet,
jedoch ohne, dass ihr von außen weitere Energie zugeführt
wird. Eine solche Konstruktion soll im Grunde aus „nichts―
Arbeit erzeugen, und dieses soll zudem dauerhaft geschehen.
Allerdings zeigen Erkenntnisse aus der Physik, namentlich aus
der Thermodynamik, dass ein Perpetuum Mobile auf Basis der
Grundkräfte der Physik nicht existieren kann.
Aber Gott konnte aus 'Nichts' etwas erschaffen, eine
Bewegung anstoßen die ununterbrochen anhält. Und die
Kraft dahinter ist die Liebe Gottes selbst, die Liebe die wir
untereinander und füreinander als Leib, als Familie Gottes
empfangen und weitergeben:
Lege mich wie ein Siegel auf dein Herz, wie ein Siegel auf
deinen Arm. Denn Liebe ist stark wie der Tod und Leidenschaft
unwiderstehlich wie das Totenreich. Ihre Glut ist feurig und
eine gewaltige Flamme (wie ein Hochofen). Viele Wasser
können die Liebe nicht auslöschen noch die Ströme sie
ertränken. Hoheslied 8,6-7
Dies ist ein Aufruf zur Bereitschaft, der Bräutigam kommt
wieder um seine Braut zu sich zu holen.
Haltet euch bereit und sorgt dafür, dass eure Lampen
brennen! Seid wie Diener, deren Herr auf einem Fest ist und
die auf seine Rückkehr warten, damit sie ihm sofort aufmachen
können, wenn er kommt und an die Tür klopft. Glücklich zu
preisen sind die Diener, die der Herr wach und bereit findet,
wenn er kommt. Ich sage euch: Er wird sich einen Schurz
umbinden und sie zu Tisch bitten, und er selbst wird sie
bedienen. Vielleicht kommt er spät in der Nacht oder
sogar erst gegen Morgen. Wenn er sie dann bereit findet
– wie glücklich sind sie da zu preisen! Lukas‬ 12:35-38‬
Wenn der Menschensohn kommt, wird es mit dem Himmelreich
wie mit zehn Brautjungfern sein, die ihre Fackeln nahmen und
dem Bräutigam entgegengingen. Fünf von ihnen waren töricht,
und fünf waren klug. Die Törichten nahmen zwar ihre Fackeln
mit, aber keinen Ölvorrat. Die Klugen dagegen hatten außer
ihren Fackeln auch Gefäße mit Öl dabei. Als sich nun die
Ankunft des Bräutigams verzögerte, wurden sie alle müde
und schliefen ein. Mitten in der Nacht ertönte plötzlich der
Ruf: ›Der Bräutigam kommt! Geht ihm entgegen!‹
Matt. 25,1-6

On September 19, 1999, the International House of


Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri, started a prayer and
worship meeting that has continued for twenty-four
hours a day, seven days a week ever since. There has
never been a time when worship and prayer has not
ascended to heaven since that date.
A Brief History of 24/7 Prayer
King David was a man of ―one thing‖ (Psalm 27:4). Around
1000 BC, as an outflow of his heart, he commanded that the
Ark of the Covenant be brought up on the shoulders of the
Levites amidst the sound of songs and musical instruments to
his new capital, Jerusalem. There he had it placed in a tent and
appointed two hundred and eighty-eight prophetic singers and
four thousand musicians to minister before the Lord, ―to make
petition, to give thanks and to praise the Lord‖ day and night (1
Chronicles 15:1–17:27). This was unlike anything that had
been done in Israel’s history, but it was God’s plan for Israel
Although the tabernacle was replaced by a temple, the Davidic
order of worship was embraced and reinstituted by seven
subsequent leaders in the history of Israel and Judah. Each
time this order of worship was reintroduced, spiritual
breakthrough, deliverance and military victory followed.
Solomon instructed that worship in the temple should be in
accordance with the Davidic order (2 Chronicles 8:14–15).
Jehoshaphat defeated Moab and Ammon by setting singers up
in accordance with the Davidic order: singers at the front of the
army singing the Great Hallel. Jehoshaphat reinstituted Davidic
worship in the temple (2 Chronicles 20:20–22, 28).
HISKIA cleansed and reconsecrated the temple, and
reinstituted the Davidic order of worship i(2 Chronicles 29:1–
36, 30:21).
Josiah reinstituted Davidic worship (2 Chronicles 35:1–27).
Ezra and Nehemiah, returning from Babylon, reinstituted
Davidic worship (Ezra 3:10, Nehemiah 12:28–47).
The Early Monastic Tradition of 24/7 Prayer
For over one thousand years monasticism (the practice of
taking vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to one’s
spiritual superior) held a key role in the development of
theology and practice in the Church. From the fourth and fifth
centuries, monks and nuns were an accepted part of society.
Monasticism was the cradle in which laus perennis, perpetual
prayer, was birthed in the church age. Some of the key figures
from this tradition are:
Alexander Akimetes and the Sleepless Ones
Born in Asia Minor and educated in Constantinople, Alexander
became an officer in the Roman army. Challenged by Jesus’
words to the rich young ruler from Matthew 19:21, Akimetes
sold his possessions and retreated from court life to the desert.
Tradition states that he set fire to a pagan temple after seven
years of solitude. Upon arrest and imprisonment Alexander
converted the prison governor and his household, and promptly
returned to his abode in the desert. Shortly thereafter he had
the misfortune to fall in with a group of robbers. His
evangelistic zeal, however, could not be contained and he
converted these outcasts into devoted followers of Jesus. This
group became the core of his band of monks.
Around 400 AD, he returned to Constantinople with 300–400
monks, where he established laus perennis to fulfill Paul’s
exhortation to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Driven from Constantinople, the monks established the
monastery at Gormon, at the mouth of the Black Sea. This
became the founding monastery of the order of the Acoemetae
(literally, the sleepless ones). Alexander died here in 430 AD,
but the influence of the Acoemetae continued. The houses were
divided into six choirs rotating throughout the day, each new
choir relieving the one before, to create uninterrupted prayer
and worship twenty-four hours a day.
John, the second abbot of the Acoemetae, founded another
monastery on the eastern shore of the Bosphorus, referred to
in many ancient documents as the ―great monastery‖ and
motherhouse of the Acoemetae. The library here was
recognized for its greatness throughout the Byzantine Empire
and indeed was consulted by several Popes. The third abbot
established a monastery in the capital under the royal consul,
Studius, who dedicated the new monastery to John the Baptist.
Studion became a renowned center of learning and piety, the
most important monastery in Constantinople. Studion continued
until 1453 when the Turks captured Constantinople.
The lasting impact of the Acoematae has been their worship
and their contribution to church liturgy. The monasteries,
numbering into the hundreds and sometimes thousands, were
organized into national groups of Latins, Greeks, Syrians and
Egyptians, and then into choirs. In addition to laus perennis,
which passed into the Western Church with St. Maurice of
Agaune, they developed the divine office of the literal carrying
out of Psalm 119:164, ―Seven times a day I praise You,
because of Your righteous judgments.‖ This became an integral
part of the Benedictine rule of the seven hours of prayer—
Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and
Compline.
Agaunum
Around 522 AD, Abbot Ambrosius brought attention to a small
monastery founded in Switzerland. Legend has it that around
286 AD, a Theban Legion under the command of Maurice de
Valois was sent to suppress a rebellion by Gauls in the north of
the empire. On their way to Gaul, the Coptic Christians were
encamped at Agaunum (present day Switzerland) where they
were ordered to sacrifice to Roman gods and to the Emperor in
petition for victory. Maurice and his Theban Legion refused. The
Roman Emperor, Maximian, ordered a ―decimation‖ of the
legion of seven thousand: one in every ten men was killed.
When Maurice and his men continued their refusal, a second
decimation was ordered, followed by another and another. The
entire seven thousand Egyptian Christians were eventually
martyred.
Although the veracity of the story has been called into question,
the legend of the martyrs at Agaunum spread far and wide.
Between 515–521 AD, Sigismund, King of Burgundy, lavishly
endowed the monastery established at the site of the
martyrdom to ensure its success. In 522 AD, the abbot at St.
Maurice’s instituted laus perennis after the tradition of the
Acoemetae. Choirs of monks would sing in rotation, with one
choir relieving the previous choir, continuing day and night.
This practice went on until around 900 AD, impacting
monasteries all over France and Switzerland.
Comgall and Bangor
The Mappa Mundi, the most celebrated of all medieval maps,
contains reference to a place on the edge of the known world:
Bangor, Ireland. Why was this small, out of the way place, now
a dormant coastal town fifteen miles from Belfast, the capital of
Northern Ireland, so important in medieval times?
St Patrick and Vallis Angelorum
Monasticism in Britain and Ireland developed along similar lines
to those of the Desert Fathers of the East. St. Patrick’s mother
was a close relative of Martin of Tours, a contemporary of St.
Antony, the father of monasticism. It is no surprise that the
same type of asceticism which accompanied the monastic
lifestyle in Egypt was also found in Ireland.
In 433 AD, just as the Roman Empire was starting to crumble,
St. Patrick returned to Ireland (having been enslaved on the
island previously) with a view to preaching the Christian
message to the Irish. He was followed by a number of other
ascetics—Finnian, Brigid and Ciaran, all of whom established
monastic centers throughout the island. While Christianity in
much of the empire had been founded upon bishops overseeing
cities and urban centers, Ireland had never been conquered
and had no urban centers. The fall of the empire therefore had
little impact on it, making it relatively easy for monasteries to
become the center of influence in Irish society.
According to the 12th century Anglo-Norman Monk Jocelin,
Patrick came to rest in a valley on the shores of the Belfast
Lough on one of his many journeys. Here, he and his comrades
beheld a vision of heaven. Jocelin states, ―they held the valley
filled with heavenly light, and with a multitude of heaven, they
heard, as chanted forth from the voice of angels, the psalmody
of the celestial choir.‖ The place became known as the Vallis
Angelorum or the Vale of Angels. The famed Bangor Monastery
would begin its life here approximately one hundred years
later; from this spot, heaven’s song would reach into Europe.
Bangor’s founder, Comgall, was born in Antrim in 517 AD.
Originally a soldier, he soon took monastic vows and was
educated for his new life. He is next seen in the Irish annals as
a hermit on Lough Erne. However, his rule was so severe that
seven of his fellow monks died and he was persuaded to leave
and establish a house at Bangor (or Beannchar, from the Irish
Horned Curve, probably in reference to the bay) in the famed
Vale of the Angels. The earliest Irish annals give 558 as the
date of Bangor’s commencement.
Bangor Mor and Perpetual Psalmody
At Bangor, Comgall instituted a rigid monastic rule of incessant
prayer and fasting. Far from turning people away, this ascetic
rule attracted thousands. When Comgall died in 602, the annals
report that three thousand monks looked to him for guidance.
Bangor Mor, named ―the great Bangor‖ to distinguish it from its
British contemporaries, became the greatest monastic school in
Ulster as well as one of the three leading lights of Celtic
Christianity. The others were Iona, the great missionary center
founded by Colomba, and Bangor on the Dee, in Wales,
founded by Dinooth; the ancient Welsh Triads also confirm the
―Perpetual Harmonies‖ at this great house.
Throughout the sixth century, Bangor became famous for its
choral psalmody. ―It was this music which was carried to the
Continent by the Bangor Missionaries in the following century‖
(Hamilton, Rector of Bangor Abbey). Divine services of the
seven hours of prayer were carried out throughout Bangor’s
existence. However the monks went further and carried out the
practice of laus perennis. In the twelfth century, Bernard of
Clairvaux spoke of Comgall and Bangor, stating, ―the
solemnization of divine offices was kept up by companies, who
relieved each other in succession, so that not for one moment
day and night was there an intermission of their devotions.‖
This continuous singing was antiphonal in nature, based on the
call and response reminiscent of Patrick’s vision, but also
practiced by St. Martin’s houses in Gaul. Many of these psalms
and hymns were later written down in the Antiphonary of
Bangor which came to reside in Colombanus’ monastery at
Bobbio, Italy.
The Bangor Missionaries
The ascetic life of prayer and fasting was the attraction of
Bangor. However, as time progressed, Bangor also became a
famed seat of learning and education. There was a saying in
Europe at the time that if a man knew Greek he was bound to
be an Irishman, largely due to the influence of Bangor. The
monastery further became a missions-sending community.
Even to this day missionary societies are based in the town.
Bangor monks appear throughout medieval literature as a force
for good.
In 580 AD, a Bangor monk named Mirin took Christianity to
Paisley, where he died ―full of miracles and holiness.‖ In 590,
the fiery Colombanus, one of Comgall’s leaders, set out from
Bangor with twelve other brothers, including Gall who planted
monasteries throughout Switzerland. In Burgundy he
established a severe monastic rule at Luxeil which mirrored that
of Bangor. From there he went to Bobbio in Italy and
established the house which became one of the largest and
finest monasteries in Europe. Colombanus died in 615, but by
700 AD, one hundred additional monasteries had been planted
throughout France, Germany and Switzerland. Other famed
missionary monks who went out from Bangor include Molua,
Findchua and Luanus.
The End of Greatness
The greatness of Bangor came to a close in 824 with raids from
the marauding Vikings; in one raid alone, nine hundred monks
were slaughtered. Although the twelfth century saw a
resurrection of the fire of Comgall initiated by Malachy (a close
friend of Bernard of Clairvaux, who wrote The Life of St.
Malachy), it unfortunately never had the same impact as the
early Celtic firebrands who held back the tide of darkness and
societal collapse by bringing God to a broken generation.
Cluny
In the ninth and tenth century, Viking raiders and settlers were
forging a violent new way of life in Europe. Feudalism was
taking root and the monastic way of life was shaken—not only
by the physical attacks as Bangor experienced, but subsequent
to the raids, many houses were subject to the whims of local
chieftains. In reaction to this movement, reform came about in
several ways, one arguably being the most crucial reforming
movement in the Western Church: the Cluniac order.
In 910, William the Pious, Duke of Aquitaine, founded the
monastery at Cluny under the auspices of Abbot Berno,
instituting a stricter form of the Benedictine rule. William
endowed the abbey with resources from his entire domain, but
more importantly gave the abbey freedom in two regards. Due
to the financial endowment, the abbey was committed to
increased prayer and perpetual praise, or laus perennis. Its
autonomy from secular leadership was also important as the
abbey was directly accountable to the church in Rome.
The second abbot, Odo, took over in 926. According to C.H.
Lawrence, he was ―a living embodiment of the Benedictine
ideal.‖ His reforming zeal meant that the influence of the
monastery at Cluny expanded widely during his leadership.
Known for its independence, hospitality and alms giving, Cluny
significantly departed from the Benedictine rule, removing
manual labor from a monk’s day and replacing it with increased
prayer. The number of monastic houses which looked to Cluny
as their motherhouse increased greatly during this period, and
the influence of the house spread all over Europe.
Cluny reached the zenith of its power and influence in the
twelfth century; it commanded 314 monasteries all over
Europe, second only to Rome in terms of importance in the
Christian world. It became a seat of learning, training no less
than four popes. The fast-growing community at Cluny
necessitated a great need for buildings. In 1089, the abbey at
Cluny began construction under Hugh, the sixth abbot. It was
finished by 1132 and was considered to be one of the wonders
of the Middle Ages. More than 555 feet in length, it was the
largest building in Europe until St. Peter’s Basilica was built in
Rome during the sixteenth century. Consisting of five naves, a
narthex (or ante-church), several towers and the conventual
buildings, it covered an area of twenty-five acres. However,
even before these great building projects, it is interesting to
note that the decline in spirituality led to the ultimate demise of
Cluny’s influence.
Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians
Zinzendorf’s Early Years
The Reformation of the sixteenth century saw much-needed
reform enter the European Church, which also caused the
closing of many monasteries that had become spiritually dead.
The next great champion of 24/7 prayer would not appear until
the start of the eighteenth century—Count Nicholas Ludwig Von
Zinzendorf.
Zinzendorf was born in 1700 to an aristocratic but pious family.
His father died when he was only six weeks old. The young boy
was therefore brought up by his grandmother, a well-known
leader of the Pietist movement and friendly with the established
leader of the Pietists and young Zinzendorf’s godfather, Phillipp
Spener. Growing up in the midst of such passion for Jesus,
Zinzendorf speaks of his early childhood as a time of great
piety: ―In my fourth year I began to seek God earnestly, and
determined to become a true servant of Jesus Christ.‖
From the age of ten, Zinzendorf was tutored at the Pietist
school of Halle under the watchful eye of Augustus Francke,
another leader of the Pietists. There he formed a school club
which lasted all his life, The Honourable Order of the Mustard
Seed. After several years at Halle, Zinzendorf’s uncle
considered the young count too much of a Pietist and had him
sent to Wittenberg to learn jurisprudence, so that he might be
prepared for court life. Soon the young count was accepted in
various circles of society in Europe. He kept these connections
for the rest of his life, although his position in the Dresden
Court and future plans for Saxon court life as Secretary of State
would not be fulfilled.
The Moravians and Herrnhut
In 1722, Zinzendorf bought the Berthelsdorf estate from his
grandmother and installed a Pietist preacher in the local
Lutheran church. That same year Zinzendorf came into contact
with a Moravian preacher, Christian David, who persuaded the
young count of the sufferings of the persecuted Protestants in
Moravia. These Moravians known as the Unitas Fratrum were
the remains of John Huss’ followers in Bohemia. Since the
1600s, these saints had suffered under the hands of successive
repressive Catholic monarchs. Zinzendorf offered them asylum
on his lands. Christian David returned to Bohemia and brought
many to settle on Zinzendorf’s estate, forming the community
of Herrnhut, The Watch of the Lord. The community quickly
grew to around three hundred, yet, due to divisions and tension
in the infant community, Zinzendorf gave up his court position
and became the leader of the brethren, instituting a new
constitution for the community.
The Hundred-Year Prayer Meeting and Subsequent Missions
A new spirituality now characterized the community, with men
and women being committed to bands or choruses to
encourage one another in the life of God. August of 1727 is
seen as the Moravian Pentecost. Zinzendorf said August 13th
was ―a day of the outpourings of the Holy Spirit upon the
congregation; it was its Pentecost.‖ Within two weeks of the
outpouring, twenty-four men and twenty-four women
covenanted to pray ―hourly intercessions,‖ thus praying every
hour around the clock. They were committed to see that, ―The
fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not
go out‖ (Leviticus 6:13). The numbers committed to this
endeavor soon increased to around seventy from the
community. This prayer meeting would go non-stop for the
next one hundred years and is seen by many as the spiritual
power behind the impact the Moravians had on the world.
From the prayer room at Herrnhut came a missionary zeal
which has hardly been surpassed in church history. The spark
initially came from Zinzendorf’s encounter in Denmark with
Eskimos who had been converted by Lutherans. The count
returned to Herrnhut and conveyed his passion to see the
gospel go to the nations. As a result, many of the community
went out into the world to preach the gospel, some even selling
themselves into slavery in order to fulfill the great commission.
This commitment is shown by a simple statistic. Typically, when
it comes to world missions the Protestant laity to missionary
ratio has been 5000:1. The Moravians, however, saw a much
increased ratio of 60:1. By 1776, some 226 missionaries had
been sent out from the community at Herrnhut. It is clear
through the teaching of the so-called father of modern
missions, William Carey, that the Moravians had a profound
impact on him in regard to their zeal for missionary activity. It
is also through the missions-minded Moravians that John
Wesley came to faith. The impact of this little community in
Saxony, which committed to seek the face of the Lord day and
night, has truly been immeasurable.